We’re in! Sports stars help showcase Dragons’ Den healthcare project

14th August 2017

A new initiative which encourages Dorset HealthCare staff to pitch innovative ideas for improving patient care has netted the support of two famous local footballers.

Former goalscoring AFC Bournemouth keeper Jimmy Glass and current Cherries ace Tyrone Mings attended a garden party at St Ann’s Hospital, in Poole, to unveil the fruits of its Space for Growth project.

Space for Growth has provided specific garden spaces within the hospital grounds, in Canford Cliffs, to help improve the health and wellbeing of patients, visitors and staff. These areas allow people to grow vegetables, learn new skills, build new relationships and enjoy the outdoors.

Space for Growth was the first winning entry of Dorset HealthCare’s very own Dragons’ Den competition, an idea based on the BBC’s popular reality TV show.
Staff were encouraged to submit imaginative ideas last year. A shortlist was then drawn up, and other staff voted for their favourites – with the four finalists then pitching their proposals to a panel of Trust senior managers and patient care representatives.
Space for Growth came out on top, and was awarded £2,000 to bring it to life.

Project Support Officer Gaby Morris said: “Innovation in the NHS is extremely important. We started Dragons’ Den last year with the aim of enabling staff to put forward ideas, no matter how big or small, which benefits everyone.

“Space for Growth is a truly fantastic project, bringing people together, helping patients both mentally and physically, and promoting healthy eating.”

Local businesses also supported the scheme, with Eco Sustainable Solutions, Dorchester Timber and G. Burley & Sons generously contributing labour and materials to develop the garden plots. There were also valuable donations from a host of local church and community groups.
St Ann’s provides assessment and treatment for a wide range of mental health illnesses. Research indicates that recovery rates improve with social interaction and outdoor activities such as gardening.

Senior Occupational Therapist Mel Harding and nurse Alison Rose devised Space for Growth with this in mind, and led its development with support from hospital chaplain Rev. Mike Oates and local volunteer Babs Plumbridge.

Mel said: “It is really inspiring to start with an idea and a conversation, and then bring it to life for the benefit of others. The project is ideal for aiding the transition of our service users from inpatient back into the local community.”

Rev. Oates added: “I was interested in bringing people together in spaces within the hospital that weren’t clinical, where they can connect as human beings and find something they can lose themselves in. Space for Growth certainly does this.”

You can watch a short video about the project below.

A new batch of ideas will be pitched to the Dragons’ Den at the Trust’s Annual Members’ Meeting at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on 13 September.

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